Sunday, November 9, 2008
Cocteau Twins - head over heels (1983)
The Cocteau Twins opened a new, fascinating chapter in their career with Head Over Heels. Their gothic-rock moved away from the paranoid tension of dark-punk and instead assimilated grand, theatrical, ethnic, ceremonial stylizations.
"When Mama Was Moth" signified the new approach with an almost new-age atmosphere, ceremonial drum-pounding, an ominous dense chamber background, Middle-Eastern chanting and medieval brass. Then "Five Ten Fiftyfold's" dramatic power owed something to the theatrical splendor of the progressive groups of the 70's (think Van der Graaf Generator), with airy passages that orientate the shape of gothic and dream-pop to come. Even better, "In Our Angelhood" soars like a dazzling ectoplasmic display of fireworks. The influence of Siouxsie And The Banshees is felt here (not the punk Banshees, but the Banshees that composed paroxysmal gothic dances such as "Icon" and "Playground Twist"). The ecstasy turns even more intense with "Glass Candle Grenades".
The second-side eases off the pace somewhat, with "Multifoiled" (a mishap) flirting with lounge, soul and funk atmospheres, and "My Love Paramour" being more traditionally post-punk. But "The Tinderbox" (with oriental percussion) is a transparent sepia autumnal fairy-tale requiem, while "Musette And Drums" is another staggering bittersweet ceremonial vortex, burning itself brightly like a comet, with a mesmerizing Elizabeth Fraser performance and a dizzying proto-shoegaze guitar-solo in the end.
Get it here.